Real Simple answers your questions.

Yunhee Kim

Q. How can I determine which size bra I should be wearing?
Virginia McConnell
Old Hickory, Tennessee

A. If your bras leave red marks or are just plain uncomfortable, chances are you’re wearing the wrong size. Sandi Simon of the Bra Smyth stores, in New York and New Jersey, says that if you don’t have access to a specialty fitting store, then an at-home measurement can give you a good idea of whether your current bra is sized correctly.

There are two measurements you need to determine: band size and cup size. To find them, put on your best-fitting unpadded bra and stand in front of a mirror, holding a tape measure.

  • Band size: With the tape measure, measure around the top of your rib cage, directly under your bust. Be sure to keep the tape evenly horizontal to get the most accurate number possible. When you have the measurement, round it off to the nearest whole number. If the number is even, add 4 inches; if it’s odd, add 5 inches. Your band size is the sum of this calculation. (So if you measured 32 inches, your band size is 36. If you measured 33 inches, your band size is 38.)
  • Cup size: Place the tape measure around the fullest part of your bust, again making sure that it stays as even as possible around your body. You also want the tape to be snug without digging into your skin. Round that measurement to the nearest even number and calculate the difference in inches between this number and your band size. A difference of 1 inch equals an A cup; 2 inches equals a B cup; 3 inches equals a C cup; and 4 inches equals a D cup. So if you measured a 36 band in the first step and you measured a 38 here, your cup size is B. ―Elinor Smith
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